(Reuters) Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a Democratic bill to increase the federal minimum wage for the first time in a decade, demanding it first include small-business tax relief. On a vote of 54-43, Democrats fell six short of the 60 needed to end debate and go to passage of the House-passed measure, which would raise the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour from $5.15 per hour over two years.
Mystech: I’m not really certain the “small-business tax relief” used to shoot down the minimum wage hike will create the sympathy the Republicans probably hoped for. This after a long line of add-on attempts like military spending plans, estate tax repeal and further tax breaks for the highest income brackets. Maybe they should keep their add-ons a bit leaner initiallly; start out asking for a cookie, then move up to indentured servitude.
Republicans demanded tax breaks be added to the legislation to help small business cover the proposed pay hike for millions of America’s lowest paid workers. Senate Democratic leaders have indicated they would be willing to go along with some sort of tax relief if necessary to win approval.
But Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts led the charge against attaching tax breaks to the bill, saying in the past decade the U.S. Congress has provided billions of dollars in tax relief to corporations and the wealthiest Americans.
“Why can’t we do just one thing for minimum wage workers? No strings attached, no giveaways for the powerful?,” Kennedy asked.